Monday, October 26, 2009


Woke up an hour late. Have to get the kids up, dressed and fed. Have to brew the coffee. Then take kids to beforecare. It's my first day of work. Um...why am I blogging? Oh yeah, WISH ME LUCK!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hamsters with jet lag

I have to rush this morning, but I must share something I read on The Writer's Almanac yesterday. Apparently, there's an an annual ceremony called the Ig Nobel Prizes. They are "held on the campus at Harvard and handed out by real Nobel laureates. The prizes, established in 1991, are a parody of the Nobel awards and are for achievements that 'first make people laugh, and then make them think.'

And they really do! "Recent science and technology awards have gone to Argentinean scientists 'for their discovery that Viagra aids jet lag recovery in hamsters' (Aviation); and a Princeton professor claimed the prize in literature recently for his 17-page cognitive psychology report entitled 'Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly.' The awards ceremony, held in early October each year, always concludes with the proclamation: 'If you didn't win a prize — and especially if you did — better luck next year!'"

This is the kind of stuff that rekindles my faith in the silliness of mankind.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Loud music for breakfast

For the last two months I've been working at a breakfast cafe Uptown on the weekends. I would name the place but I got in trouble for talking about the fire department that I worked for and ended up having to go back and delete every post with their name in it. This makes sense. They're political, they rely on votes to keep them up and running. Their name in this blog can only bring them ruin. In fact, did I say fire department? I mean, the sewage and water board.

Anyway, moving on. This breakfast joint which I will call "Waffle House"...what do you mean that name's taken? Ok, no problem. So "Waffle Cafe" is in a pretty neat part of Uptown. Lots of bohemians and lots of rich people who started out as regular bohemians, but ended up making lots of money and still listen to Phish. There's a piano player who comes in every day and sometimes a dude on a stand up bass will join him. On Sundays there's a guy who come in with a horn, which always makes taking orders interesting.

Customer: I would like a [sudden trumpet blast] with a cup of [blat!]
Me: Did you say an eagle with a cup of syrup?
Customer: No, no. A [blatty! blat! blat!] with a [pianist sets piano on fire, horn player plays with teeth and crowd goes wild].
Me(pretending to write something): Excellent choice.

Five minutes later I bring him a bowl of oatmeal and hope for the best.

My hearing has gotten so bad over the years and the music and the chatter in the place always drown out whatever desperate plea for food a customer is giving me. I should learn to read lips. The only word I can understand by watching someone's mouth move is "coffee" but that's just because coffee and I have a symbiotic relationship. If I was blind and deaf and someone said the word coffee from across the room I would still approach them with an empty mug and demand that they share.

This is my heroin, people, my shameless addiction, and it makes total sense to me why whenever I'm in desperate need of a job I gravitate towards places where I can get it on tap for free. During my interview my boss asked, "So what draws you to the food service industry?" I glared at him with blood shot eyes and said, "Coffee." He said, "But surely the customers-" And I said, "Hand over the coffee and there won't be any trouble." And at that moment he knew I would be a faithful employee with an everpresent mug in hand.

Until this past weekend when I gave him notice. Oy. I hate giving notice. He understood, and he and the cooks are sad to see me go. I always put in the most interesting orders. "That guy over there would like eggs with a side of hammock." "Do you mean ham?" the cook will ask. "Maybe," I'll say, looking hopeful.

This weekend will be my last two days there, then on Monday I start technical writing for a company which I will call "Big Technical Company With Lots of Engineers and No Trumpets." As long as they keep the coffee comin'.

Tune in tomorrow when I share about the cafe's church lady groupees. This is the entourage of a priest who all come in on Saturday mornings, and it is these ladies' goal in life to make sure that the priest is taken care of as if the fate of their souls depends on him getting his bagel in a timely manner. Hopefully the Catholic church will not ask me to delete that post in a couple of weeks. In fact, did I say "Catholic church?" I meant, "Jay Leno Fan Club."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mmm...that's good cheese

A couple of weeks ago I bought one of those refrigerator magnets that say things. I was never one to boast a magnet or a car decal that advertised my state of mind, other than the name of a band I liked or (in the case of refrigerator magnets) a place I'd been. And the places I've been haven't been too exciting. People don't pass by a refrigerator magnet that says "Biloxi Beach" and say "You've been there too?! Well, goddamn!" Once, I had a sticker on the back of my car that was a silhouette of Bill the Cat from Bloom County. There he was, tongue hanging out of his mouth like Gene Simmons, with his tagline next to his head, "Ack!" That pretty much summed up my state of mind at 18.

So now I've got this refigerator magnet. I saw it at Barnes and Noble and when I read the first few words I thought, "This would be good to read when I get up in the morning. It's cheesy, but I could stand some cheese in my brain food diet." Here is what it says, "Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life keep peace within your soul." It's helped. It helped this morning in fact when I was getting the kids ready for school and there was, well, a lot of noisy confusion. It's the "be gentle with yourself" part that helps me, really. It's so easy for me to beat myself up for not doing a perfect job in the mornings of getting everybody out the door.

I've got some good news. I got a technical writing job! It's like a real full-time writing gig that I can support myself on! This is a first, people!

I'll write about it some more later. My timer is about to go off. Yes, I set a timer for this blog. It was hard to wipe the dust off of this thing and start writing again. The last few months have been really hard and painful. There have been good times, though, and Chris and I are getting along. That's the important thing. I've resolved not to write much about our breakup out of respect for Chris, my kids, and my in-laws. There will be no rants or anything like that. I'll write about how the kids are doing though. They're having a rough adjustment, as expected, but they are still their wonderful little selves. We're falling into a new routine, which helps. Claire starts guitar lessons on Wednesday, Christopher's gonna start basketball in a couple of weeks, and I found art lessons for Emma.

I will leave you with an Emma quote for the day. It's taken out of context, but even put back into context it's still just as whacky: I learned the hard way not to fall asleep on a lamp.